Rainy Day Goodwill Haul + Thrift Tips


Happy spring! April showers might bring May flowers…but, in my world, rainy days also bring some fantastic Goodwill finds. When it’s pouring outside, one thing that always cheers me up is grabbing a cup of coffee, meeting a friend, then seeing what sunshine we can find inside my favorite thrift store.  Here’s a look at my latest spring-inspired haul along with some thrift shopping tips that will keep you from leaving the store disappointed.


Tip #1: Shop during or after a storm (as long as it’s safe to go out)! When the weather is rough, but stores are still open, staff is able to work swiftly to sort through donations and get them on the floor because they have fewer customers to assist. And because all the other shoppers are hunkering down at home, you get the pick of the litter as soon as new items hit the shelves! During my thrift haul today I found this classic umbrella that just had to come home with me. Its wooden handle makes it feel a little more special than a regular plastic one. Your local Goodwill might have some unique raingear, too!


Tip #2: If you love something, buy it! Don’t talk yourself out of it just because you didn’t go shopping with that specific item in mind. Most seasoned thrift shoppers have a story or two about stumbling upon their favorite find at an unexpected time. That’s why I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this blazer. It’s not what I came in for, but blazers are so expensive brand-new that when I saw this one, I instantly tried it on. It’s perfect for my 9-5 job and it’s a fun layer to go over summer dresses so they can work for spring! I couldn’t even wait to get to the dressing room to make sure it fit.


Tip #3: When in doubt, put it in your cart. You can always put it back on the shelf if you change your mind before you leave the store. I was on the fence about these running pants at first, but I put them in my cart while I poked around the rest of the store anyway. Sometimes when I do this, I reassess at the end of the trip and feel comfortable leaving the item behind. But when I was done browsing this morning, I checked in with myself about these pants and felt confident that they were a great choice. At only $9 for brand-new, comfy jogging pants, they are just the motivation I needed to get moving with a new exercise routine this spring. Good thing I put them in my cart when I did—they were the only pair in my size!


Tip #4: Bring a sewing tape measure and know the sizes/colors of specific things you need. One item I had been searching for was a basket or bin that could fit into an empty nook in my bedroom for craft supply storage. When I have specific needs like this I make sure to keep measurements of the space I have to fill on my phone. I also bring along a sewing tape measure (it rolls up so tiny!) so I can check to see if items are the correct size right there in the store. You may also want to bring color swatches or pictures of a certain things you’re trying to match. If you shop prepared then you’ll never take something home that doesn’t fit or leave something behind that could have.


Tip #5: Shop in the middle of the week. Not only will the store be less crowded, but that also means that the good stuff hasn’t been snagged by someone else. This Goodwill haul adventure I’m sharing today took place on a Wednesday so I had plenty of time and space to browse around. Wandering along, I was shocked when I noticed this Soma water pitcher peeking out at me from the top shelf in the kitchen section. I have had this same exact picture on my Amazon wish list for months and here it was waiting for me at Goodwill for only $2 (it retails for $40). Would it still be there if I waited until Saturday to shop? Probably not!


Tip #6: Donate something every time you go. Not only does this keep your home from becoming too cluttered, it’s also good thrifting karma to give as you get. I’ve been looking for a colorful, light-weight bag to add to my wardrobe for a while and I feel like this one might have been waiting for me as a reward this time for clearing out some old bags on my last visit. I love the unique clasp and bright colors. It’s so perfect for spring!


Tip #7: Learn the discounts. What day of the week do things get marked down at your local Goodwill? What’s the color of the week? Do seniors or veterans receive a discount? These are quick questions to ask staff that can help you save money. Some Goodwill stores even offer you a discount coupon when you make a donation! Keeping the color of the week in mind, I was able to get this bright Old Navy sweater for half-off. I love the weight and fit of it. It’s so flattering and will take the edge off of cooler spring days while still feeling cheery thanks to its lively color.


Tip #8: Check the return racks outside of the dressing rooms. These racks are filled with items that have caught the eye of other shoppers so they’re always stuffed with great pieces. It’s almost like someone has pre-shopped for you, selecting the cutest of the cute to try on. When clothes don’t fit just right or the color doesn’t work for the other shopper the way they had hoped, where does it go? On the return rack! Fantastic finds like this flowy Lauren Conrad blouse will often be hiding there so don’t pass it by. I really think this might be my new favorite shirt. It’s a favorite color of mine and the gold buttons make it feel so fancy!


Tip #9: Shop out of season! Years ago, I never would have dreamt I’d be buying this wooden Christmas tree in March, but I’ve since learned the merit of shopping out of season. So even though it’s springtime now and I’ve got pastels and picnics on the brain, I couldn’t pass by this perfect little tree with its rustic charm. How cozy will this look in December nestled amongst evergreen boughs with stockings hung nearby?

So that’s my latest thrift haul! I’m so in love with all of my finds and even more impressed with Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability. Shopping secondhand, reusing items and do-it-yourself projects are all a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s also more fun to find something unique at a Goodwill store and give it a second life. Knowing all of this, I was proud to walk out of Goodwill today with all of my spring-inspired goodies tucked neatly into my new-to-me basket.

Goodwill Date Night!

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching! Don't want to break the bank this year? Have a fun date night at Goodwill! 

_KPM7958 (1).jpg

Goodwill is the perfect place to find unique items while cozying up to your sweetheart. Try on wacky outfits, find the most unique item in the store, or simply shop around and enjoy all that Goodwill has to offer!


The best part? Goodwill has the lowest prices around so you can afford to go on a mega shopping spree! Show some love to Goodwill while showing love to your valentine!

_KPM8000 (1).jpg

See you this Valentine's Day <3!


Find a store near you by visiting our website at https://www.esgwnd.org/storelocationsandhours/

DIY Holiday Serving Tray

Happy Holidays! 

With every visit to your local Goodwill, you are helping your community while getting inspired with new creations. Check out how to make this festive holiday serving tray from your thrifted finds!

Serving Tray.jpg

All you need is a thrifted tray and creativity when making this beautiful holiday serving tray! Visit your local Goodwill and start making your holidays something special! Visit our website at https://www.esgwnd.org/storelocationsandhours/ to find a Goodwill Retail Store near you!

DIY Cross-Stitched Skull T-Shirt

Halloween is right around the corner! Raise your hand if you’re too busy to build an elaborate Halloween costume this year (I know I am)! Or maybe you did have time to put together one great ensemble, but you’ve got multiple events on your calendar and can’t re-wear the same thing. Don’t worry—we’re ready to help! Here’s one quick and easy nod to All Hallows’ Eve that could be a festive fit for work or school or a quirky take on The Punisher from Marvel Comics: A cross-stitched skull tee-shirt.



-          Thrifted tee-shirt

-          Iron and iron-safe surface

-          Fusible interfacing

-          Ruler or sewing tape measure (depending on the technique you use) *

-          White chalk, an iron off marking pen, or a washable sewing marker (optional) *

-          White embroidery thread

-          Small tapestry needle

-          Scissors

-          Pencil (not necessary if you have another marking tool)

-          Washi tape

-          Embroidery hoop (I see these at Goodwill all the time!)



* NOTE: There are two ways you can measure the grid for your cross-stitching. The easiest and fastest would be to use a removable marking tool (such as chalk or iron-off/washable sewing marker) to draw a grid on the tee-shirt before you start sewing then remove the marks after you’re finished. I didn’t have a marking tool that would come off after I stitched, so I used my sewing tape measure to envision the grid as I went. My method takes a little more time to execute, but may help you skip a trip to the craft store.



Before you’re ready to roll, plan out your design. Here’s the template I used for mine with each square in the grid measuring 1/2 an inch wide and tall. You may want to adjust that for a bigger or smaller design, just keep in mind that the smaller the image, the harder to stitch and the larger the image, the more likely it is to snag.


Step 1: Measure a piece of fusible interfacing that is slightly larger than your finished design will be. I added ½ inch to all four sides. The interfacing will help stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t warp and pull as easily when you’re stitching through it. It will also minimize the damage caused to the shirt by your thick needle.



Step 2: Turn your clean and unwrinkled shirt inside-out and find the center of the chest where you’ll place the design. Set the interfacing carefully in place with the bumpy side down (this is the part that sticks to the shirt when ironed) and iron in place. You can test the edges by gently trying to lift them so you know when you’ve ironed enough.



Step 3: Turn the shirt right-side out again and measure a rectangle of washi tape onto the shirt so that the inside of it is the exact size your finished design will be. My skull is 5 ½” wide by 6 ½” tall so the inside edges of my tape marked that space out. Make sure that the entire open area inside the box lies within the area covered by interfacing.



Step 4: Here’s where you have a choice of method. I’ll call them the removable grid (drawing a grid on the shirt with a removable marking tool) or invisible grid (measuring each row one at a time as you go without marking the shirt).


Removable grid method—Use a ruler to measure out your grid within the box you created. Mark that on the shirt and remove the grid by washing or ironing after you’ve finished.

Invisible grid method—Place your sewing tape measure down on the shirt leaving the exact height of your cross-stitching squares above the line (for me, it’s ½” so you can see I’ve created an invisible row that is ½” tall). Make sure the tape measure lines up with the right and left sides of the taped off box so you can easily visualize the width of each stitch. Use tape and the embroidery hoop to hold everything in place and stitch your Xs in place accordingly. As you complete each row you’ll have to take the embroidery hoop off and move the measuring tape down to create space for the next row.


Step 5: Place the embroidery hoop over the area to be stitched and secure by tightening the screw at the top of the hoop until it is snug.



Step 6: Cut a length of embroidery floss then loop one end through the needle as pictured and knot the other end. You don’t need to separate the individual threads of floss since we want the image to be bold enough that it stands out on the shirt.



Step 7: Place your first stitch through the back of the shirt so the knot is hidden making Xs to scale according to your template. It doesn’t matter which part of each X is on the bottom or the top as long as you’re consistent to keep the design looking crisp. Move along adding stitches row after row. When your length of floss is getting too short, knot it on the inside of the shirt then trim the excess. Rethread as needed.



Step 8: Pay close attention to the spots that need to be skipped and you’ll be done before you know it! When your design is finished, tie it off on the inside of the shirt, trim the excess thread, then remove your hoop and grid!



With your spooky new tee-shirt, you’ll be ready for ghoulish last-minute gatherings and seasonal non-costume events alike. And since Goodwill organizations provide individuals with opportunities to turn their jobs into careers, when you shop for second-hand project supplies your quick clothing update is a good deed in disguise.


Happy Goodwill haunting!

Back to School Scores for Every Crowd


As you surely remember, schools – especially high schools – are known for their cliques. During their pre-teen and teen years, kids are constantly exploring different facets of themselves trying on different personas to see what feels right (Am I a jock? An artist? A member of band? Some unique combination of all of those?). This back-to-school season, help your child find their niche without throwing your budget out the window by shopping at Goodwill® where you can find necessities for every interest.

Junk Market 2017

This past weekend, we participated in Junk Market, a large craft and DIY event hosted by Eco Chic Boutique in Fargo. The event was held at the Scheels Arena and featured over 75 booths! We were thrilled to be a part of such a fun, creative event. Check out photos from our booth below!


Our booth featured a collection of unique antique items that could be refurbished or used as is!

Cute old-fashioned cookbooks and sewing books help enhance your living space and give it a shabby chic vibe!


Along with housewares, we also showcased fashionable shoes and purses... (Psst...the white heels on the left are Christian Louboutins!)


Vintage costume jewelry enhances any outfit and gives it a classic look!


We loved being a part of this spring's Junk Market event! Watch out for more Goodwill booths in the future at other local events!


Do You DIY?

Do-It-Yourself (or DIY) projects have become a great way to give your home a needed update while saving money that you would have spent on expensive retail items. It seems that Goodwill Retail Stores were made for DIY enthusiasts who have a passion for making old items new again.


Whether you are looking for a new piece of furniture or a decorative wall hanging, Goodwill has all the tools you will need to find inspiration for your next project!

Check out our boards on Pinterest to find unique thrift store DIYs for your next project! And don't forget to pay us a visit at one of our Goodwill Store Locations to explore our unique merchandise and find that perfect item to become your next masterpiece!